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Tommie Hoban wants Aberdeen to aim high for Premiership run-in

Tommie Hoban.
Tommie Hoban.

Aberdeen defender Tommie Hoban is aiming for a run of wins to cement his side’s status as leading contenders in Scottish football.

Hoban helped his club bounce back from a 4-1 defeat at Ross County by scoring the opening goal in the Dons’ 2-0 win against Motherwell at Pittodrie on Saturday.

With a busy run of matches set to begin starting with tonight’s Premiership match at St Johnstone (6.0) the former Watford defender is looking for a consistent run of results from his side.

He said: “It was a great team performance from everyone and at times we played some really good football.

“Now we are hopefully going to build on that with another like that against St Johnstone to stay in third place.”

Securing third place is the immediate objective, but Hoban knows a positive sequence of results will make his side realistic challengers to second-placed Celtic.

The Dons trail the Hoops by four points, but with the two sides still to meet three times this season, including two games at Celtic Park next month, Hoban knows his side has an opportunity to push even higher.

Tommie Hoban put Aberdeen ahead against Motherwell.

He said: “The important thing is we build with so many big games coming up leading into next month’s against Hibs who are not too far behind.

“If we can get a good return of points from that then I’m sure we will still be in third and start to look above us as well to chase down Celtic for second.

“It’s very tight up there at the moment and if we do that I’m convinced we will finish third or higher.

“If we come through this set of games then Celtic will be in touching distance when we play them twice in February.

“Those games will be massive then and the pressure will be on them if we are in that position.”

Hoban knows the Perth Saints will be full of confidence following their 3-0 Betfred Cup semi-final win against Hibernian on Saturday at Hampden, but has backed his side to win if they can reproduce the display which was good enough to beat Motherwell at the weekend.

He said: “It’s going to be a tough game as there are no easy ones in this league as it showed for us against Ross County.

“We are expecting another tough one against St Johnstone, who will be extremely high after the weekend, but we beat them twice before this season.

“We are still very confident going in and if we play to the level we can then we are confident of another three points.”

Seeing Saints and Livingston, the club’s next two opponents, prepare for a cup final date next month has added to the frustration at Pittodrie that the Dons have missed out on a chance at lifting silverware.

Hoban said: “We see it as a missed opportunity, but you cannot take anything away from them.

“This year it has been a bit crazy as on their day anyone seems to be able to beat anyone, but credit to them for getting to the final.

“With where we are, it is very disappointing as the cups are something we see as a very good opportunity for us to win something.

“Hopefully we will still have one more shot with the Scottish Cup when that gets going again and we can redeem ourselves there.”

Derek McInnes: St Johnstone will be eager to impress boss and earn cup final places

Dons boss Derek McInnes was pleased to see former club St Johnstone reach the final of the Betfred Cup, but believes earning a return trip to Hampden next month to face Livingston will ensure Callum Davidson’s side will be aiming to impress their manager at McDiarmid Park.

He said: “It was a brilliant result for St Johnstone. I watched the game on Sunday and for them to get to another cup final is a brilliant story, especially for Callum Davidson in his first full season.

“It makes them extra confident with players playing for places. Nothing incentivises a team more than when there are cup final places to play for and they will feel they have a real chance of winning the final now it’s down to two.

“When the game comes round I’m sure Callum will believe he has the team to win it. I’m pleased for Callum and the club.”

Dylan McGeouch.

Dylan McGeouch is back in training, but will not be in the squad for tonight’s game.

McInnes said: “Dylan is back trainin,g but we’re still mindful that he’s not had too much football.

“He’s missed 16, 17 games and rather than him travelling down with the squad, we’ll get some extra work into him over Wednesday and Thursday and hopefully get him more ready for upcoming games rather than this one.”